Salt

salt-workers

I should feel like an Egyptian pharaoh,

But I never had all that splendour.

Mine was such a short life,

And then I was mummified for the Hereafter.

 

There was never anyone to wait on me,

To bring me delicacies or fan away the flies.

You could not imagine Liz Taylor

Wanting to play my part in a film.

 

But I want you to take a moment or two,

To imagine that your feet and hands

Are permanently covered in cracks and crevices.

And to imagine the constant burning pain.

 

And contemplate now, the virtual blindness

That comes from seeing – day in and day out –

The bright sun reflected from the brilliant white

Of salt, from horizon to horizon.

 

And breathing, such a natural thing!

But even breathing was slowly killing me.

Coughing, spitting, rasping breath and breathlessness

And worse…

 

And when I died, they could not burn me.

Not properly, for the years of salt had seeped

Into my skin and as a final indignity,

Ensured that even death was not a true escape.

 

 

Sprinkle, sprinkle on your dish,

Shut your eyes and make a wish,

Up above the world so high,

If there’s a watcher in the sky,

Pray they somehow can arrange

For this indignity to change.

A couple of years ago I wrote about the extremely difficult conditions endured by Indian salt workers – and many others all over the world (the link is here should you care to read it) – which I don’t think have eased since then.

As you add salt to your meal today, think of them.

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21 thoughts on “Salt

  1. I suppose the saddest angle on this story is the big orange monsters that scoop up tens of tons of salt at a time in the vast mine under Lake Huron so that dump truck can sprinkle it on our highways…while these poor folks barely scratch out a living.

    One day the economy of big orange monsters will reach their corner of the world, then what will they do?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very moving. A wonderful way to get the point across. I knew it wasn’t a pleasant existence but didnt realise how much. Is it true they cant burn the bodies? ( Have I missed something?) if that is true, then doesnt it go against their religion

    Liked by 1 person

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